Egypt’s Wael El Hindi won his first title in the USA since relocating to New York last year when he beat Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema in the final of the METROsquash US Open, the $80,000 5-star PSA World Tour squash event in the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park in Chicago.
From the glowing smile as he entered the court, it was clear that the Egyptian’s heart and mind were going to be in this match.
El Hindi quickly built up a 6-1 lead in the first game before Anjema overcame his initial nervousness – but the 30-year-old from Cairo resisted the fightback to take the game.
The second game was dominated by ‘LJ’ Anjema’s textbook length. El Hindi showed signs of conserving his energy for the third game as the third-seeded Dutchman moved ahead to level the match.
The critical third game saw both players trading points. As the players began to tire, the number of lets increased. However, the calls did not seem to unsettle either player and they kept their composure. Second seed El Hindi would not give up and won the third game by a close margin.
Anjema, 27, from The Hague, appeared slightly slower in the fourth game – and El Hindi took full advantage by bringing out more of his front court game. A tinned volley drop ultimately gave the match to the Egyptian – and the packed crowd that stayed up close to midnight gave him a well deserved standing ovation.
The 11-8, 5-11, 11-7, 11-7 victory marked the seventh PSA Tour title of El Hindi’s career – but his first for more than two years.
 Wael El Hindi (EGY) bt  Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) 11-8, 5-11, 11-7, 11-7
El Hindi & Anjema To Contest US Open Final
Egypt’s Wael El Hindi and Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema will contest the men’s final of the METROsquash US Open after the second and third seed, respectively, survived four-game semi-finals of the $80,000 5-star PSA World Tour squash event in the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park in Chicago.
Anjema, the world No13 from The Hague who had never before progressed the first round in three previous appearances in the event, took on Omar Mosaad, the No6 seed from Egypt who ousted French favourite Thierry Lincou in the previous round.
Tall left-hander Anjema took the opening game, but 22-year-old Mosaad built up a 6-2 lead in the second. The Dutchman fought back to rattle off eight points in a row to take a 10-6 lead.
“Mosaad saved two game-balls before Anjema finally managed to capture the game with a wonderful combination of drop shots that had Mosaad scrambling around the front court,” said event spokesman Phil Yarrow.
In the third game, Mosaad again built a 6-2 lead – but this time advanced to game-ball at 10-4 before finally taking the game to reduce the deficit.
Anjema regained his focus in the fourth and, after opening up a 10-2 advantage, ultimately took the game to win the match 11-4, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6 – and claim his 24th appearance in a PSA Tour final.
El Hindi faced Olli Tuominen from Finland in the other semi. “Tuominen has been a frequent visitor to Chicago tournaments over the past 15 years, but he may never have been playing as well here as he has been this week,” explained Yarrow. “He was simply sensational in his victory over Mohamed El Shorbagy in the quarter-finals on Wednesday night and he would continue that good form at the beginning of tonight’s match.”
The Finn dominated the early going – and won the first game 11-4 and raced to a 6-1 lead in the second.
But El Hindi, also a frequent visitor to Chicago and a favourite with the fans, battled back to draw level before pressing home his advantage to beat the No8 seed 4-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6.
The win takes the Egyptian into his 12th career final – but his first for more than two years.
El Hindi said afterwards that he was not feeling good during the second game as Tuominen was putting everything away. But he just tried to stay calm and play his way back into the match.
 Wael El Hindi (EGY) bt  Olli Tuominen (FIN) 4-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6
 Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) bt  Omar Mosaad (EGY) 11-4, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6